Reframing the practice of leading change is at the heart of our consulting practice.
All of your leadership development, strategic learning, and strategy or program execution should be framed as stages in the evolution of resilience for leaders, groups, organization, or communities. Thinking beyond short-term efforts is necessary. Expanding the fiber of true resilience will help you weather shocks, emergencies, and new threats. Adapting to disturbance and continually being able to renew through innovation is a more useful meaning of resilience. This means knowing what should be preserved (and why) and what must evolve or be discarded. It also requires you to invest in foresight, in stretching your boundaries of learning and caring, in the ability to perceive trends, and in rigorous examinations of your assumptions about your business and how it is adding real value to the world.
A good deal of the change we are trying to trigger in organizations or communities is very complex and long-term. On many fronts, previous efforts have made good but incremental progress. As a result, there is a body of solid or promising practices available on many dimensions of organizational or community change and on collective impact. But, despite this body of successful practice, we haven’t fully resolved many of the root social problems in our world. Serious inequities, disparities, and insidious structural “isms” are being compounded by mounting natural challenges around water, energy, food, and economic opportunity as globalization continues reshaping wages, markets, and industries. Taking our work deeper and making the best of it adaptive and lasting will require more potential and new ideas that are yet untapped. We are surrounded by potential in people in our organizations and communities that we need to engage in new ways to address our social challenges. This requires a new appreciation for adaption, collaboration, experimentation and rapid learning. It depends on including new people in the mix with the opportunity and power to collaborate respectfully and creatively. We have to engage experts and stakeholders. We have to be more willing to unlearn and to be disturbed from our typical certainties in order to promote breakthroughs.
"Thank you for supporting us and also doing the heavy lifting of creating a greater depth of shared vision."
There are whole sections in Barnes and Nobles of books about “Leadership” and “Change”. Ken Hubbell’s handbook on leading effective social change takes an entirely different direction from those that I have read. He challenges his readers who are attempting through their organizations to bring about Social Change to do it with a “powerful connection to your soul”. This challenged me to look at my level of passion and commitment to work toward broad based change. His statement so resonated with me, “Developing an authentic relationship to change is nurtured through unleashing your soul’s energy and potential.” As an ever learning student of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible I notice almost every time the word “soul” is referred to in the writings, the writer includes “heart and soul” (See Deuteronomy 4: 29). This is what Ken is challenging us to step up to, that Social Change comes about when leaders are passionate about linking with others, applying both “heart and soul” to see lasting and significant change come about.
To guide strategic engagement with diverse stakeholders committed to building a youth-family focused children’s well-being network across North Carolina, we coached the team at Benchmarks, to frame children’s wellness in a wider setting where multiple stakeholders could act in concert on school-based family wellness “hubs.” We facilitated a series of working groups with a broad group of grassroots, agency, and municipal leaders to create a “system map” of the current mental health support pipeline and to shape more impactful approaches to collaboration around a more integrated model. We framed the core strategic ideas to help the group tell the story of the new concept during a planned engagement effort.
Top Picture Credit: Ken Hubbell:
Be Like Wind: Make Waves
Oil on Canvas (2015)